Does Gatsby achieve the American Dream?

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Does Gatsby achieve the American Dream?

The concept of the American Dream has been a popular topic in literature and culture for decades. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, The Great Gatsby, is no exception. The story of Jay Gatsby, a wealthy but enigmatic man, who throws extravagant parties and longs for the love of his former flame, Daisy Buchanan, is an exploration of the American Dream and its elusive nature. In this blog post, we will examine the question, does Gatsby achieve the American Dream?

Defining the American Dream

Before we can answer this question, we must understand what the American Dream means. The American Dream is the idea that anyone can achieve success through hard work and determination, regardless of their social status or background. This success is often equated with financial prosperity, but it also includes the ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity.

In The Great Gatsby, Gatsby sees the American Dream as the attainment of Daisy’s love, which he believes will complete him and make him happy. He yearns for her and believes that with his wealth and status, he can win her back and live the ideal life he has imagined with her.

Gatsby’s Pursuit of the American Dream

Gatsby’s pursuit of the American Dream is relentless, as he spares no expense in hosting lavish parties and building his wealth to impress Daisy. He buys a mansion near Daisy’s house, hoping to catch her attention and reignite their romance. He believes that his wealth and status will draw Daisy back to him because he believes she is unhappy in her marriage.

Gatsby’s pursuit of the American Dream is not entirely without merit. He certainly achieves financial success, and he uses his wealth to improve his station in life, from his humble beginnings as a poor soldier. He also embodies the ideals of determination and hard work, as he relentlessly pursues his goals despite many hurdles, including the disapproval and judgment of others.

The Elusive Nature of the American Dream

Despite Gatsby’s determination and hard work, he never fully achieves the American Dream. Gatsby’s dream of winning Daisy is ultimately unattainable, as she is wedded to another and cannot reciprocate Gatsby’s feelings. The social and economic barriers that keep them apart are too great.

Furthermore, Gatsby’s wealth and status are not enough to ensure his happiness, as his success is built on a foundation of lies and corruption. His parties and his wealth are merely a facade to impress Daisy and others. Gatsby’s pursuit of the American Dream is ultimately flawed because he believes that wealth and status can buy happiness, but he learns the hard way that it is not enough.


In conclusion, we can argue that Gatsby’s pursuit of the American Dream is both successful and flawed. He achieves financial success and embodies the virtues of hard work and determination, which are central tenets of the American Dream. However, his pursuit of Daisy is ultimately unattainable, and he learns that wealth and status do not guarantee happiness.

The Great Gatsby is a cautionary tale about the limitations of the American Dream, as it highlights the elusive nature of success and the emptiness of materialism. Gatsby’s pursuit of the American Dream is a reminder that the American Dream is not always achievable, and that happiness cannot be bought with money or status.

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